Changing a Flat: The Basic Steps
Any experienced driver will tell you there are few things more disheartening than getting a flat tire. Whether you have a blowout on a highway or your tire deflates overnight, it’s essential to know the basics of changing a flat tire. Many roadside assistance programs will fix your flat as part of their regular service, but this can cost time and money.
First, get to a safe spot. You can drive a short distance on a flat, so be sure to get to a place with little to no traffic. Put your hazard lights on, and use any flares or emergency triangles you might have. If possible, avoid areas that are inclined—flat surfaces work best.
Next, you’ll engage the parking brake and put wedges under the wheel opposite the flat to prevent movement. You can remove the hubcap if applicable, and begin loosening lug nuts (don’t remove entirely). Now you can jack up the car by finding a spot on the frame (see owner’s manual for proper location). According to the DMV, you should get the car about six inches off the ground.
Now you can remove the lugs entirely and remove the flat. Put on the spare, replacing the lug nuts by hand to avoid cross-threading. Lower the vehicle and begin tightening with the wrench. You should work in a star-pattern, moving to the lug immediately adjacent to the one you just tightened.
Remove the jack and wedges and disengage the emergency brake. You can bring your flat to Crossroads Automotive, and our team may be able to repair the tire in certain situations. If the tire is too damaged, we can also find you new tires at affordable prices.